Monday, September 22, 2008

The results are in!

Well, I got smart & asked for a copy of the pathology report & there were 3 placentas, 2 fused together so that is why the report read dichorionic (2 placentas) triamniotic (3 amniotic sacs). Don't ask me why they don't consider it trichorionic b/c it clearly stated THREE placentas. I have a feeling Dr. Adam only read the part where it said di/tri & not the rest of the report. That was our 1st clue that they were more likely fraternal than identical.

THEN...the call came. This happened last Thursday but due to the power issues & chaotic environment in the aftermath of Ike, I haven't had a chance to post about it. The DNA lab called & said that the girls are fraternal. It is official, no more questions, no more comparing pictures, no more doubts...they are fraternal!

Emotionally, I am glad b/c that means each of our embryos made it but there is a part of me that is sad b/c for 5.5 months I have come to believe that my girls were identical. Honestly, it doesn't matter b/c I still love them the same. Questioning the report was driving me crazy & everyone around us (our parents) kept telling us that they weren't identical. Part of me KNEW that it was true BUT I didn't want to question the report or Dr. Adam. Todd didn't believe it from the get go & he was right. I'm just glad that the results are in b/c it was driving me CRAZY not knowing for sure.

Abuelita (my mom) & Ian right before his bath.

Mommy & Gabi...see how our eyes are very similar?

This is how I feed Sofi every day when I am alone.

All 3 babies hanging out on the floor together.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Survived!!!!!

What a scary experience! September 13, 2008 will be forever be etched in my mind. Here is my personal account of what happened w/ our family & Hurricane Ike.

As you all know, we were doing fine through Friday afternoon. We were constantly going outside to look & see if the weather was changing & honestly, it wasn't until about 7 pm that things started to finally change b/c we were starting to question whether this storm was ever going to reach us. I suppose time was standing still & the anticipation of the storm was not helping. The babies went to bed w/o a problem, it was me that couldn't shut my eyes b/c the wind was whipping trees around like they were blades of tall grass. All I could think about was the tree in front of our bedroom & also the big 1 behind our bedroom. We were all in our "bunker" & I just didn't feel really good about it so I went out to the living room to see the news. Needless to say, there were the normal amount of crazy reporters standing out on the shore as Ike started to take over.

I think I finally fell asleep at 11 pm & was hoping to stay that way until it was time to pump. YES...I was still planning on pumping. I know, crazy woman! What can I say? I was worried about my babies & their milk! Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way. Todd woke me up at 1 am & told me to come downstairs but I told him I was fine. He came back at 2 am to get me up to pump. I walked downstairs & the lights flickered on & off...perfect timing. I guess it wasn't in the cards for me to pump. The electricity stayed off.

At about the same time, my 13 yr old neighbor, Katy, called me & told me that her dad heard the tree behind our bedroom make a loud crack or splitting sound & that we needed to get out of the bedroom. Todd & I rushed in, grabbing each baby & putting them in their car seats. We figured if they are good enough to withstand a crash in a car, they were good enough to help protect the babies during the storm. I also made it easy to carry them where we needed to. Since the wind from the storm was coming in from the northeast, we put the babies in the southwest side of the house which also happened to be the laundry room. Thank God they slept right through the transition!

I laid down next to the door & Todd next to me. For the next 3 hours we laid there listening to all kinds of things flying around outside, hitting the side of the house & wondering if our roof was going to fly off. At some point, Todd heard dripping & upon investigating, found a huge puddle of water in front of our bay window. It was coming from the ceiling. We had no idea how & with it still pitch dark outside, had no way of finding out what was going on out there that would allow water to leak through our roof. It did warp our floor so who knows, maybe we'll get a new floor out of all this.

At about 5 am things got really scary. The wind was blowing so hard that the house was shaking. It didn't seem like it was going to let up & there I was trying to breastfeed each baby b/c if I didn't feed them, we would have screaming infants that were starving. Considering that Sofi had refused the breast several times before, it was not another stress I needed to deal with. THANK GOD for little favors! She latched right on as did Gabi & Ian. WAAAAAHOOOOO! Might I add that it was a much needed relief b/c I was completely engorged!

As the sun started coming up & dawn presented us enough light to look out the window, what the dark hid finally came to light (pun intended). We are glad that we heeded our neighbors warning b/c we saw that the tree behind our bedroom was half down. It fell the other way...another little favor from the man upstairs.

The light showed us just how scary Ike was. The wind was amazing. It looked like our big old oak trees didn't stand a chance against Ike's fury. Our magnolia tree lost many branches & you couldn't see the ground due to all the debri. The street was littered in trees (yes, whole trees), branches, leaves, wood from fences, & shingles from roof tops. Fences were down all over the place. Trees were on top of homes & cars. The light brought a scary reality, one that I had not seen since seeing my parents' land outside of Waco after a tornado tore through it.

The humidity & heat set in & that is when I knew we were in for it. I wanted to hope & pray that our electricity would come back that same day but knew I would be holding my breath so we had to start thinking about how to make it w/ the babies. Thankfully our generator came in VERY HANDY keeping my 600 oz of frozen milk & all of our perishables fresh. We banded together w/ our neighbors & had community dinners. They cooked 1 night, we cooked the next. Clean up was about helping one another. The elderly couple across the street checked on regularly until they left knowing that electricity would not return for many days to come. Life felt much like it did when I was a child...everyone supported one another but back then it was not due to a hurricane, it was b/c that is how life was. Fortunately this is something we all rediscovered b/c of Ike. We agreed that the sentiment needed to continue after not just in the time of need.

Our babies survivied...naked. They would not sleep in their cribs b/c it was too hot so nap time was in the swings downstairs while Todd & I worked on cleaning up the yard. On Monday morning, we got a cool front which helped make things tolerable, even enjoyable weather wise but that wasn't before we sweated it out for 48 hours. We were constantly worried about running out of gas & came pretty darn close to it, having to ask his parents to bring us some of their rations. The only time we had communication w/ the outside world is when the generator ran & we could watch the news which of course was only about Ike & his horrible distruction. Our phones hardly worked & we still have problems getting phone calls out on the cells.

Electricity could not have been more welcomed. We had just finished dinner & were getting ready for bed when there was a surge & then the lights came on. I started to say, "OH MY GOD" over & over again while running out the door to go to our neighbor's home. Jane & I embraced & cried b/c we were so happy to have electricity once again. Then the party started. Everyone came out their front doors hoopin' & hollerin', good ol' Texas style. We congregated in the street & talked about our experiences over the past few days & knew we had won...Ike was finally defeated!

If someone had told me a year ago that we would weather a category 2 hurricane w/ 3 5.5 month old babies, I would have laughed in their faces. The thought is absurd but our strength & help from our families along w/ our FANTASTIC neighbors (Jane, Steve, Kate, & Jennifer) and our families (Mom, Dad, Bill, & Donna) we were able to prepare for the storm, weather the lack of electricity & become stronger b/c of it all. What an experience!

Our backyard & the tree that came down.

The debri covering the street.

Our front yard.

Our tree on our neighbor's garage.

Eating while the generator is on.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Well, it looks like we are going to get hit by this evil storm & we are crazy enough to stick it out. They have actually recommended "sheltering in place" which means to get to a part of the house w/ no windows. Other parts of the city are under mandatory evactuation as well as all of Galveston island, Freeport, Baytown, & other coastal towns/cities. We are ready for this storm. We have a generator, 2 window units for AC, & enough food to last a while. I'll also be able to pump the milk for the babies. This is going to be very interesting. I have a feeling we will lose our electricity sometime tomorrow night or early Saturday morning & will probably be w/o it for about 24 hrs. We have enough gas to keep the generator going for a couple of days. I'll be taking pictures throughout the whole experience & posting it later when we get back online.

PLEASE keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New milestones...my babies are growing up too fast!

Wow...they are just over 5 months old. Where did the time go? Seriously! I just switched out their 0-3 month clothing for 3-6 month. Yeah, we are a bit behind on size but I am ok w/ that b/c it means they stay smaller just a little bit longer. I'm sad to see my babies growing so quickly BUT at the same time, I love watching them hit new milestones.

Today, Ianchito finally rolled all the way over by himself. I even got a picture. He ended up hanging out on his tummy, playing w/ his arm for about 40 minutes. Figuring that he has never spent more than about 5 minutes on his tummy at one time, I was amazed at how comfortable he was & how much he was enjoying himself!

All 3 babies have also really started enjoying the exersaucer. I think it is b/c their feet finally touch the bottom, haha! They are manipulating the toys around it quite a bit better & can hang out in it for 30 minutes at a time! Gabi was really enjoying herself today.

While Gabi was in the exersaucer & Ian was on his tummy, Sofi decided to discover her toes! This is the 2nd time she has really taken notice but the first that she realized that they were part of her. I didn't snap her in the bouncy seat b/c I was sitting right next to her. She scooted down & grabbed on tight!

We have also introduced carrots to the babies. They LOVE them! I tried them & am not a big fan at all. Of course, I don't like cooked carrots so why would I like cooked, pureed carrots? DUH! The next thing on the menu is going to be butternut squash. I'm probably going to cook it on Friday. Making baby food is EASY! If you think for 1 minute that it is difficult, PLEASE post a message to me & I will discuss it further. I know you can read everything on the web about it & be very overwhelmed. I think the secret is to take it 1 veggie/fruit at a time. We started w/ sweet potatoes. I was surprised at just how easy it actually was. The carrots are easy too, just takes a bit longer to prepare b/c you have to steam them & then puree them. Oh, my wonderful inlaws got this AWESOME baby food maker for me & I put it to use the very next day. It is called the Baboa Babycook & can be found at Williams-Sonoma. There are a couple of drawbacks to it though...

1) It makes portions for 1 baby & I have 3 so it takes a bit longer to make more.
2) In order to puree what ever it is you have steamed, you have to hold the switch in place. There is no locking it in to place.

There are many more advantages though...

1) It is small enough to store on the counter w/o taking up much room.
2) Everything is done in the same bowl so you only have to clean 1 set of parts.
3) It is very convenient & easy to use.

Here it is loaded w/ chopped carrots.

This is after I puree the carrots.

This is the finished product.

Rather than use ice cube trays which I have heard about, I decided to use the Glad Ware 1/2 cup containers since I am feeding 3 babies. It makes for easy freezing, defrosting & serving b/c I don't have to worry about it being a multiple step process. Once I put them in the Gladware, they go in to the freezer & then directly to the microwave for about 45 seconds to thaw out & then to be served directly from the same container. No having to dirty anything extra & when you are taking care of 3 babies it is all about cutting corners & saving time! For those of you wondering about the baby food jar, I use it for the introduction b/c it is a 2.5 oz jar which gives each baby 1/3 serving for the 1st try to make sure that they don't have a reaction to it. I plan on using it w/ every new introduction. I don't freeze that either.

Well, I think that is about it for now. We have 3 weeks left until they hit 6 months & our well baby exam. I'm very curious to know how much they each weigh. I'm guessing they are around the 14-15 lb range as of right now.

Oh...almost forgot, for those of you curious where I got the DNA test, it is from www.dnanow.com & cost $99. I am hoping that the results will be in by the end of the week. I also got a call back from Dr. Adam's nurse & the report read that the placenta & babies were dichorionic (2 placentas) triamniotic (3 sacs). The shared placenta was between babies A & B which are Sofi & Gabi. She reread the report & declared them "identical". So now we wait for the DNA results. One other thing, no...they do not have to be "identical" in looks. Since they were each in their own sacs, they had different "environments" which can affect their looks as well as Gabi's head molding issues. Hmmm...I'm still not completely convinced!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Identical or not?

I am very perplexed by this question. Are the girls identical or not? We were told by Dr. Adam that the pathology report on the placentas showed the girls were identical but if you look at them, they appear very different although their features are pretty much the same. The report stated there were only 2 placentas & that babies A & B (Sofi & Gabi) shared a placenta which means they HAVE TO BE identical. I even asked if it was possible that the placentas were fused but the report did not show this so that squooshed any doubts for me. I asked Dr. Nguyen last time we went if we could do a DNA test & she was not really in to that stating that unless there was a medical reason, we should go w/ the pathology report. Ok, fine. No problem. Again, my doubts were extinguished.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago. I decided I needed to find a twin forum b/c I figured the moms there could give me more insight on identical vs fraternal twins. All this did was make me obsess about whethere they are actually identical. I can't stop thinking about it & want to know 100% for sure that they are so that when we are asked I can say for sure. The only way to achieve this is a DNA test so I found a place that only charges $99. I'm now waiting not so patiently to receive the kit so I can swab the girls' cheeks & send it back to them.

In the meantime, I called Dr. Adam's nurse back & am asking that the pathology report be sent to me. I also asked that she call me back so she can read the report to me. Another thing that was suggested is that I take pics of the girls together w/o clothes on (yes...they had diapers on) & also to focus in on their features. Check out these pictures & tell me if you can figure out whose nose & eyes belong to who.

Here are the eyes...


The girls' noses...


A profile picture which really helps see their similarities...

A couple more pics of them together...


I really don't know but when you look at their features w/o their faces, they look identical. When you put their eyes & noses on their faces, they look so different. I think that Gabi's head is still very asymetrical which attributes to such a HUGE difference in their looks. Gabi's head is also very long & Sofi's is very wide b/c of where they were in the uterus. Gabi was breach & Sofi was head down, engaged in my pelvis. She was protected very well & has a perfectly round head, if anything a bit squooshed together. Basically Gabi's features are very spread out on her face while Sofi's is all close together.

Honestly, I really don't know. I believe Dr. Adam & know that there is a VERY SLIM chance, if any, that the pathology report is incorrect but there is some doubt b/c of how differently they actually look. There is only 1 way to find out & I suppose it will be sooner than later. Now, let's see if I can actually stay SANE while waiting, LOL!

SOOOO...what are your opinions? Leave a comment & let me know!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sweet Potatoes...YUMMY!

They love them! The 1st 2 days we ate sweet potatoes that were in a jar b/c I didn't have time to bake the real ones. I have to say that once you bake a sweet potatoe, it is very easy to make it in to baby food. I didn't even puree it! Here is what I did...

*Preheat oven to 400.
*Using a fork, poke holes in to the sweet potato.
*Wrap sweet potato in foil (I put a tiny amount of water in there before I seal the foil).
*Place in glass baking dish.
*Cook for 1 hr 15 min (this makes it super soft).
*Using a spoon, take out the "meat" of the potato & mash.

I equate 1 serving as 2 tablespoons so 2 potatoes made 15 servings. I know that they are going to need more & will up a 1 serving to equal 4 tablespoons at some point so that would make about 7-8 servings. I did not water down the potatoes b/c after I mashed them w/ a fork, it was super soft.

I also promised pictures since I did not post any the last time.

The girls like tummy time when they can see each other.

Sofi really likes to sit up now days so she like the bumbo chair quite a bit.

Ianchito playing in the exersaucer.

Ianchito & Sofi sharing a burpie cloth, Ianchito's turn!

Now it's Sofi's turn to chew on it!

Besides the food, things are going so-so. We are having napping issues w/ Ian. It seems now that I am breastfeeding him exclusively, he naps at the same time which interferres w/ his nap after they eat. He will cry & cry until he falls asleep. Out of frustration, I went & bought Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child & read through the book in 1 day, implementing the methodology the next day. Well, it went ok but their naps were short & the evening was very messed up. The 2nd day was even worse! I was at my wits end yesterday evening w/ very fussy babies. This made for a very unhappy mommy. I'm going back to our old schedule w/ a bit of a modification. The babies are going to bed earlier. We are working on that. Rather than going down at 8:30 (by the time all is said & done), we have started moving them up little by little w/ the goal being 7pm. That is helping quite a bit b/c they are sleeping through until about 5:30-6am! They get their little snack bottle & then go back down until 7:30am.

The only thing I find very frustrating about all this is that they were napping so well until the middle of last week & then BOOM...it all changed for Ian. I'm sitting here typing & he is crying b/c he won't give in & go to sleep. What happened? He was my calm baby. They were barely up 2 hrs. I just don't know! If there are any mommies out there that have an idea of what is going on, PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE!